Introduction of X-rays in Medicine

Throughout the 19th century, physicians had searched for ways to visualize the interior of the living body. The discovery of x-rays revolutionized diagnosis in medicine. At last there was a means to obtain images of disease processes in the living.

X-ray imaging was rapidly introduced in many centers of medicine. Within two months of the announcement of Roentgen's discovery, x-ray images were made by the physicist John Cochrane in his laboratory at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He gave public demonstrations and local doctors asked to use his x-ray apparatus for diagnostic purposes.

In the fall of 1896, Kingston General Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Canada to acquire an x-ray machine. It consisted of an induction coil capable of generating 100 000 volts, and an x-ray tube.

The new x-ray machine was tested with volunteers. The value of the machine was demonstrated by an x-ray of a volunteer's hand.

James Third, the hospital radiographer, was an advocate of the use of x-rays in the early diagnosis of tuberculosis in the lung and joints.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program

© CHIN 2001

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